MUSIC IN A NEW FOUND LAND by Wilfrid Mellers


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Some Britons really do still think of America as a ""new found land,"" and when they write about American culture they seem to be unable to avoid a tone of condescension. Phrases from the elaborate section and chapter titles give an initial hint of this which is confirmed as one reads on: ""The pioneer's energy and the artist's order""; ""the folk-song of the asphalt jungle""; ""Orgy and alienation""; ""From art back to jazz"" and ""From jazz back to art""; ""From pop to art"" and ""From art to pop...the rebirth of wonder."" A family typical sentence, even out of context, illustrates the style of the writing: ""Yet again the distortion is not merely parody; it also gives an Ives-like veracity to the off-key blowing of the park bands, played on Partohian instruments and on conventional instruments simultaneously; and when the party really gets going to Latin-American rhythms, the synthetic Hollywood product is once more metamorphosed into a revelation of the wildness -- and the longing -- within the heart."" There are certainly plenty of worthwhile anecdotes, valid facts, and interesting photographs herein, but it is not easy for music-loving Americans to read far enough to find them. Mellers is author of the well-known Sonata Principle and other books. In 1962, Oxford University Press also published a one-volume revised edition of Man and His Music, on which he had collaborated with Alec Harman to somewhat better effect, and in which he was identified as a music tutor at Birmingham University. Appendices include a Discography.

ISBN: 1412809967
Publisher: Knopf